Joe Strauss: Lazy Writer

It’s worth pointing out that the N.L. Cy Young race was so close last year that a lot of different votes could have swung the outcome to either Wainwright or Carpenter, but I guess having a different opinion regarding the best pitcher in the National League last year than Strauss makes you worthy of his derision. One wonders if the fact that Strauss works in St. Louis doesn’t play into his estimation at all, but whatever.

What really gets me, again, however is how totally ignorant Strauss is. Not just about newly developed statistics, but about the arguments guys like me use. Notice, for example, the way Strauss uses the term “peripherals.” I’ve honestly never heard anyone refer to wins or other “traditional numbers” as peripherals; they’re generally rate stats. When people talk about peripheral numbers, they’re talking about things like K/9, BB/9, HR/9, HR/FB, etc. And far from using the term pejoratively, the sabermetrically inclined crowd generally considers these numbers pretty important.

Strauss just literally has no idea what he’s talking about, to the extent that he can’t even be bothered to familiarize himself with the thinking and positions of the people he’s scoffing at and passive-aggressively insulting. In just about any other profession, this would be the end of anyone taking him seriously, but in the world of baseball writers this sort of laziness and complacency will get you lauded by a not unsubstantial number of your peers. Whatever, in the end, this sort of thing is only hurting Strauss and others like him by laying bare the emptiness of their beliefs. But when they wonder why I’m generally not inclined to show them much deference or respect, this is a great illustration of the answer.

(h/t Craig)

Update: I kid you not, originally I thought about having a paragraph in this post using the fact that a pitcher could toss a complete game, one hit, one run, no walk, double digit strikeout game yet still be credited with the “loss” if the team’s offense as unable to score any runs, but decided against it because it seemed like wasted effort in preaching to the choir. Then Felix Hernandez went and did almost that exact thing today, allowing only one run and two hits through 8 innings (the one run being a home run surrendered to Jose Bautista, his 50th of the season), but “lost” the game for his team as they were shutout by the Blue Jays.

If someone can watch that game and honestly think it makes any sense at all to hang the loss on the pitcher who gave up one run and two hits in 8 innings, well, I just don’t know what else to say about the issue at this point.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

One thought on “Joe Strauss: Lazy Writer

  1. Cuban Bee

        OOHH I JUST WANT TO STRANGLE THAT GUY! Honestly, Strauss is almost as bad as Murray Chass, and it’s absolutely deplorable. But I think more and more people are seeing that this kind of writing really IS closed-minded, short-sighted drivel. I would consider myself an average fan. 25 years old, Yankees fan, dad signed me up for little league a long time ago and I’ve loved the game ever since. Now for quite awhilie I believed, as many still do, that statistics like Wins, RBI, ERA etc, were the END ALL BE ALL of baseball statistics. And I think most of us would agree that we all started off this way. This is just what was force-fed to us so its what we believed. Like the Easter Bunny. Wins and RBI are the Easter Bunny. Now the point that I’m trying to get to is that the average fan, if they truly enjoy the game will want to know everything there is to know about it. And where does the average 25 year old person go to get information about ANY SINGLE TOPIC their little hearts might fancy? Well, the internet, obviously. And what does one find when one searches the web for “baseball statistics”? Well one finds websites like fangraphs and baseballreference and this one, where a sabermetric society is in glorious full bloom! And sure, one can also find meaningless garbage on other websites, no doubt, but – and this is the important part – the internet allows average baseball fans like myself to actually leave a comment on what they just read. So if one were to read a terrible article extolling the virtues of basing the author’s Cy Young vote on how cool their hair is or how awesome their tattoos are, an average fan can tell the author to get their head out of their bum, and all the other average fans can see that this is an example of bad baseball writing. So I guess my overall point here is that the internet is really what is turning your average fan into a more knowledgable, opinionated fan who knows what’s good and what’s bad, and that’s gotta count for something. Yeah, we’re still gonna have writers like Chass and Strauss, but I think they are part of a dying breed. And in time, an extinct breed. Great piece by the way Brien!
    Dan Czlapinski

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